Dear Child of Mine,
There are some days when I’m reminded of one of reasons God must have created the childhood stage of humankind. Kids bring fun and laughter and true, deep, unabashed love into your life like no jaded grown up can. (Yes, I could list a ton of ways that children are a burden or a frustration, but today, let’s focus on the positive.)
While I’m waiting for you, dear one, I’ve been practicing love on all of the children in my life. And how can you not love a joyful, silly little girl like Madison?
The best part of children is their innocence and their GIANT LOVE. Kids LOVE BIG. They run and scream your name and jump into your arms…and you don’t even care that your back might be broken. They ask EverySingleSunday if they can pllleeeease come home with you and you wonder why on earth a fun, energetic kid would want to come home with a boring, exhausted, (sometimes) grumpy grown up like me? They gently stroke your arm or brush your hair, and they manage to make you feel beautiful and safe all at the same time. They reach out and hold your hand when you cross the street and they don’t squirm to let go. They wave to you when you’re singing on the worship team as if you’re someone famous and it makes you feel like a million bucks. When you ask them who their best friend is they stop and think for a moment before replying YOU! And even though you know that can’t possibly be true it still gives you the tinglies.
And so, when Maddie asked if she could come home with your dad and I on Sunday after church, even though I was spent and still had lots to do to prepare for the arrival of your grandparents and Uncle Brian and great-grandparents, I looked at her and said, “Would you like to come to Walmart with us to help pick out our new fish?” I figured it might only take a half hour before dropping her off at home again, but it just might mean the world to her. She eagerly accepted.
But as we waited for the fish associate to help us, we guessed her favorite foods (I was really good at that) and talked and laughed, and my heart made room. I asked her if she’d like to have grilled cheese and tomato soup with us for lunch. “Yes! That’s exactly what I was thinking!” she said. So while I cooked lunch, your dad played a few hands of Uno with her and taught her how to shuffle the cards like a “card shark.” I don’t know too many almost-7-year-olds who can shuffle like that, but with your dad around, I imagine you’ll do the same. :)
I had lots to do and so I was ready to take Madison home, but then I thought it might be nice to have her “help” me with the bread dough. I have to admit, Child, I have trouble letting little hands help me to tasks that I know would be faster and easier and accurate if I just did it myself. But again, this time together, letting the little children come to me like Jesus probably did, was what I felt God wanted from me in that moment.
And so, after setting the dough aside to rise, and talking about what is a good age to get married, and learning that she wants to go to college to learn to be a mom, and watching my adorable husband play Uno with her and make tasty cinnamon-tossed snacks for her, and letting her be the focus of our attention, somehow I was the one who felt better. I felt a little more whole, having given of myself. I felt more loved and affirmed, having let a little one in.
I can’t wait to let you into my life, child of mine. I’m sure I’ll have struggles with selfishness because it *is* easier to do it myself, but I hope you’ll forgive me. I hope you’ll keep asking if you can help me in the kitchen. I hope you won’t give up if I say “No” one too many times. I want to love you well. Because I know you’ll LOVE BIG.